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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/18/rick.warren/art.obama.warren.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration."]Maureen Miller
He's sticking with the pastor. President-elect Barack Obama is not backing down from his decision to have evangelical "celebrity" Rick Warren deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month, despite growing anger from liberal groups and gay rights proponents.
Warren is a lightening rod for controversy because he opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Most recently, he endorsed California's Proposition 8; which banned gay marriage.
Obama is defending his pick of Warren. At a news conference in Chicago today, he said a "wide range of viewpoints" will be presented at the inaugural events.
"What we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans," said Obama.
"I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency," he added.
Just moments ago, Pastor Rick Warren released this statement:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/03/16/economy.paulson/art.paulson.blitzer.cnn.jpg caption="Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in an interview with CNN in March 2008."]
William R. Hawkins
U.S. Industry Today
In their sweeping history of British Imperialism 1668-2000, P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins argue that “captains of industry did not command as much prestige as bankers in the City” and raised the issue of whether “the City’s separation from manufacturing retarded Britain’s industrial progress.” The City in English parlance is the same as Wall Street. The London bankers were the core of a “gentlemanly capitalism” in which “production was held in low repute.” High finance allowed gentlemen to overcome “the problem of living in the world while also rising above its sordid realities.” Cain and Hopkins conclude that the gentlemen bankers were “closer to the centers of power and [were] the dominant influence upon the expression of that power overseas.” This had tragic consequences for the maintenance of Britain’s superpower status, which declined steadily during the 1890-1950 period. The grandest empire in world history never lost a war, yet its economic foundations crumbled so that it could no longer sustain its global leadership.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/12/18/trump.madoff.qanda/art.madoff.jpg caption="Bernard Madoff strolls down New York's Lexington Avenue after news of the scandal breaks."]
Ronald A. Cass
The Wall Street Journal
Steven Spielberg. Elie Wiesel. Mort Zuckerman. Frank Lautenberg. Yeshiva University. As I read the list of people and enterprises reportedly bilked to the tune of $50 billion by Bernard Madoff, I recalled a childhood in which my father received bad news by asking first, "Was it a Jew?" My father coupled sensitivity to anti-Semitism with special sympathy for other Jews. In contrast, Mr. Madoff, it seems, targeted other Jews, drawing them in at least in some measure because of a shared faith.
The Madoff tale is striking in part because it is like stealing from family. Yet frauds that prey on people who share bonds of religion or ethnicity, who travel in the same circles, are quite common. Two years ago the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning about "affinity fraud." The SEC ticked off a series of examples of schemes that were directed at members of a community: Armenian-Americans, Baptist Church members, Jehovah's Witnesses, African-American church groups, Korean-Americans. In each case, the perpetrator relied on the fact that being from the same community provided a reason to trust the sales pitch, to believe it was plausible that someone from the same background would give you a deal that, if offered by someone without such ties, would sound too good to be true.
Special to CNN
Global warming data is released constantly these days - and all of it shows that our planet is in peril.
We know that pollution taints our air, water and land, and global warming threatens humans and wildlife in all corners of the globe.
Just this week, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that based on records dating back to 1880, 2008 is on track to be one of the 10 warmest years globally, even though it was the coolest year since the turn of the century.
AC360 Associate Producer
Well, we’re in the home stretch. One week from today is Christmas. The day when little kids wake up early and rush downstairs to find out if Santa brought them that new bike, doll house or Senate seat.
Caroline Kennedy is back in Manhattan after spending a busy Wednesday upstate, meeting with local political leaders, arm wrestling Bills fans, and going door-to-door discussing housing issues: “Your home is so lovely. It reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith’s chalet in Gstaad.”
Ms. Kennedy didn’t answer too many questions from reporters but – in the few remarks she did make – demonstrated a knack for connecting with average citizens: “I love being here in Southern Canada. It has the cheerfulness of Martha’s Vineyard and the serenity of Nantucket.”
And despite the circus-like atmosphere I reject the insinuation that the Senate appointment process has turned into some sort of reality show. By the way, the first debate between Caroline Kennedy, Andrew Cuomo and Fran Drescher will be held next week in Michael Bloomberg’s hot tub. It will be co-moderated by Bob Schieffer and Sally Struthers.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/18/mayors.pork/art.water.park.jpg caption="There is a request for a new $1.5 million water ride at the Grapeland Water Park in Miami, Florida."]
Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost
CNN Special Investigations Unit
A report to Congress that requests $73.2 billion to pay for infrastructure projects around the country includes plans for a polar bear exhibit, an anti-prostitution program, a water park ride, zoos, museums and aquatic centers, CNN has found.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors went to Capitol Hill earlier this month with a report listing 11,391 infrastructure projects proposed by 427 cities. The mayors claimed the proposal would create 847,641 jobs in 2009 and 2010.
The more than 800-page document is titled "Main Street Economic Recovery: 'Ready To Go' Jobs and Infrastructure Projects."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/HEALTH/12/18/paterson.obesity/art.david.paterson.gi.jpg caption="New York Gov. David Paterson says taxing soft drinks could help combat obesity."]
Editor's note: David Paterson, a Democrat, is governor of New York.
Special to CNN
Like many New Yorkers, I remember a time when nearly everyone smoked. In 1950, Collier's reported that more than three-quarters of adult men smoked. This epidemic had a devastating and long-lasting impact on public health.
Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a new public health epidemic: childhood obesity.
What smoking was to my parents' generation, obesity is to my children's generation. Nearly one out of every four New Yorkers under the age of 18 is obese. In many high-poverty areas, the rate is closer to one out of three.
That is why, in the state budget I presented last Tuesday, I proposed a tax on sugared beverages like soda. Research has demonstrated that soft-drink consumption is one of the main drivers of childhood obesity.
For example, a study by Harvard researchers found that each additional 12-ounce soft drink consumed per day increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60 percent. For adults, the association is similar.
Roland S. Martin
You must be a bad man to have the political left and the political right mad at you at the same time.
That's where Pastor Rick Warren finds himself today as gays and lesbians come out in full force today after President-elect Barack Obama chose him to give the invocation at his January 20th inauguration. He also chose civil rights stalwart, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, to give the benediction.
What has gays and lesbians angry is that Warren is a staunch believer that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. An ardent opponent of homosexuality, he is also a strong pro-lifer. But that is secondary to the anger regarding his views of homosexuality, and that has led to a plethora of gay and lesbian leaders decrying his selection as a slap in the face, or as Huffington Post political editor Hilary Rosen to say on CNN's AC360 last night, a "kick in the stomach."